iPhone 6s: The 10 most important new features, according to Apple

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus: The reviews are in.

‘This year, Apple’s iPhone 6s has bucked that trend with not only an enormous processing power upgrade but three marquee features that provide significant value to the customer — and they’ve backed it up with a new purchasing plan that removes a lot of the reasons many people have for not upgrading every year. ‘Building on the strong foundations of last year’s iPhone 6, this smaller sibling to the iPhone 6S Plus adds just enough improvements to stave off the rising Android onslaught, making the firm’s best a fair amount better. ‘There’s no groundbreaking new look or ‘how did we live without that?!’ new features, but then that’s not really Apple’s style nowadays, as it turns into a ‘greatest hits’ compiler par excellence.’ ‘Both the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are both tangibly heavier and thicker than their predecessors. You’ll recall that last week’s commentary started off with remarks by Apple that it expects the phone to do better in its first weekend of sales than did the prior iPhone 6 models last year. I actually think the extra weight makes the 6S feel more substantial and easier to hold than the whoops-there-it-goes iPhone 6 — and what you get in return promises to make up for it. ‘if you have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and you’re not ready to sign up for a yearly phone upgrade program, you might not feel the usual pull to get a new iPhone unless you really want a better front-facing camera.’ Apple’s iPhone 6s includes an advanced 3D Touch screen, improved camera and a host of new software tools but one feature appears to have taken a step backwards – the battery. Today, Daniel Ives with FBR & Co., who has an Outperform rating on the stock, and a $175 price target, thinks “initial underlying customer demand looks robust and should translate into potential upside versus Street estimates for the December quarter.” Our Apple store checks over the last week, initial pre-order data based on wait times, coupled with our China market analysis give us confidence that Apple is on a trajectory to exceed Herculean-like YOY iPhone 6 comps in the December quarter with our estimates now 77 million units (versus our prior 74 million), likely alleviating lingering bear chatter. With initial pre-order sales looking particularly strong out of the linchpin China region, we believe the combination of strong first weekend sales and potential upside to iPhone numbers for the next few quarters should help remove the “China iPhone black cloud” hovering over Apple for the last few months.

As is usually the case in an “S” year (or a “tock” year, which follows the “tick” of an entirely new device), Apple has refined last year’s model. The data show “relatively flattish” iPhone installed base in the U.S., despite a one-quarter uptick for respondents listing Google’s (GOOGL) Android as the OS of their current phone.

Based on data from Kantar Worldpanel and our tracking of online best-seller lists, we believe, iPhone share has generally waned globally since the peak of the iPhone 6 cycle,but is still up y/y in most geographies, with most notable strength in China. By my count, there are three this year: 3D Touch, Live Photos, and upgrades to the front-facing camera. 3D Touch is a pressure-sensitive layer that’s been added to the iPhone’s display, allowing you to access shortcuts and previews when you press down on an icon or link.

You can jump to a new text or a frequently called phone number from the home screen, see a preview of a message in your inbox, check the pictures on your camera roll without leaving the camera app. This is an S year for the iPhone, which means the basic physical design of the phone has remained the same while the internals have been substantially revised and made faster.

S iPhones may lack the punch of a new design, but Apple says they actually sell better and last longer in the marketplace than non-S iPhones — these are the phones that stick around. You wouldn’t know how hard to press; you’d press too hard; there’d be a lag and you’d press again, only to find that you had pressed twice, probably causing you to throw the phone across the room. This year there are also two changes to the exterior: the glass screen is now stronger and more shatter-resistant, and the case is made of a tougher aluminum that will presumably be less prone to bending. In addition, Apple’s plan also doesn’t tie the consumer to the carrier, it ties the consumer to AAPL – a development likely to be somewhat frustrating for carriers. In general, we think this program should act as a tailwind for iPhone sales since they serve to shorten the replacement cycle, help drive Apple Care service revenues, and no longer require the up-front payments that were required under the subsidized two-year contract plans.

The new model’s most important new feature: The multitouch screen now gains a new system-wide capability — it reacts to the force of your finger, a feature called 3D Touch. One effect might be to induce carriers to bring back an effective subsidy for the phones, in order to avoid new amounts of churn created by customers using Apple’s unlocked model to switch between providers. For instance, if you press just a bit harder than usual on an email in a list, 3D Touch will give you a peek into its contents, including any photos it contains, and then, when you release your finger, you’ll be right back where you were. Another important aspect is that as customers come off of their lease plans next year, presumably as an “iPhone 7″ comes out, Apple’s program may blunt the impact of customers holding off on buying a new model: By building a group of 12-month upgrade-eligible customers now, that could serve to blunt the headwind of iPhone 6 consumers who are coming off 24-month leases.

This is one of those potentially huge user behaviors — like swiping, or pinching and zooming — that seem odd or minor at first, but which Apple historically is able to make deeply important and useful. With respect to iPhone 6s, the availability of leasing plans is not new, so therefore we don’t expect much incremental benefit to iPhone 6s sales as a result of AAPL’s new program. As outlined above, the monthly price of AAPL’s iPhone upgrade plan is about the same as AT&T’s 12-month upgrade plan, and slightly more expensive than AT&T’s 18- and 24-month upgrade plans. Opening apps, switching apps, processing things—it all happens faster on the 6s. (You can see this side-by-side comparison in my video, above.) Brian X. If you’re in the market for a smartphone, you should buy one—but not for the reasons you might think… With prodigious speed, well-thought-out interfaces, and flawless hardware-software integration, these new iPhones provide the tool for whatever it is you’re doing and just let you do it.

The camera alone is worth the price of admission — it’s truly great — the glimpse into the future of three dimensional computing is just a bonus. These otherwise-unglamorous performance boosts don’t get the crowd on their feet at product launches, but they’re exactly what a great smartphone needs to achieve its ultimate goal, which is to get out of your way.

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